October 26 - Rio de Janeiro must feel like it is getting more than just three weeks of sport when it hosts the 2016 Olympics, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair told organisers in Brazil today.
Blair, addressing a group business leaders and Brazilian Government authorities at a conference Sao Paulo, claimed that the Games had to leave a legacy for the city if they were to be judged a success.
"It cannot be just about the three weeks of the Games,” Blair said.
"There is no point doing the Games if there isn’t a sense that something is being built for the long term."
Blair, instrumental in London's successful bid to host the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics, has been controversially hired by Rio 2016 officials as a paid consultant.
He told the conference that sport had the power to change people's lives and Brazil had to harness the potential of the Olympics to help that process.
"Part of the legacy is about what sport can do to society,” Blair said.
"Sport today is far more important that just sport itself.
"It can be used as a great anti-crime policy, a great health policy."
Orlando Silva, Brazil's Sports Minister, said that they had turned to Blair for advice to tap into the knowledge he had gained during London's bid.
"The London Games are inspiring to us," said Silva said.
"Brazil will try to organise a historic event and we will look to the experiences abroad to help reach our goal."
February 2010: Paulo Coelho attacks Rio 2016 role for Tony Blair
February 2010: Rio 2016 hires Tony Blair as paid consultant
January 2010: Rio 2016 team to quiz Blair